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Snipes Mountain AVA unique because of its soil

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Todd Newhouse outlines the process of certifying Snipes Mountain AVA in 2009, to Daybreak Rotarians Wednesday morning.

The Snipes Mountain area provides prime soil for vineyards and healthy wine grape crops.

That's according to Todd Newhouse, manager of Upland Vineyards.

Sunnyside Daybreak Rotarians heard about a new American Viticutural Area (AVA) at Wednesday morning's meeting.

Because of its unique soil components, Newhouse began working towards certifying the Snipes Mountain area as an AVA.

The Snipes Mountain AVA, which is nearly 4,000 acres, was so certified in 2009 by efforts of Newhouse and other locals.

The prime reason he wanted the area distinguished from the Yakima Valley AVA was because of its soil differences.

Newhouse says when Missoula floods came through the Yakima Valley area Snipes Mountain was tall enough to stay above water, resulting in indigenous soils not being washed from the area.

"The rocky, older soils produce better grapes," he added.

He says Snipes' soils have nearly 53 percent lacustrine soil. That's different than the majority of the Yakima Valley, which contains 33 percent alluvium soil. The chemical differences, says Newhouse, provides reason enough to distinguish the AVAs.

In addition, Newhouse says distinguishing the AVA helps with marketing and branding the wines.

Upland Vineyards distributes fruit to more than 25 wineries and produces more than 35 grape varieties. He says the AVA helps protect the name usage. To bottle a wine and say it comes from the Snipes Mountain AVA, more than 85 percent of the grapes have to actually be grown in the Snipes Mountain area.

Newhouse says Upland has plans to expand itself as well.

"We want to open our tasting room to the public," he added.

He says the tasting room should be open to the public by the summer.

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